By Joseph Sykes | Sports Editor
After crushing the Dayton Flyers 89-58 in their first game of conference play, the Duquesne women’s basketball team has done more than enough to deserve national recognition.
The win over the Flyers gives the Dukes 12-straight victories and an overall record of 13-1 on the season. With the huge win, the team has earned 13 votes from USA Today in its Top 25 poll. While 13 votes won’t earn them a spot in the rankings, it’s just the second time this season the women received national attention. They earned three votes last week.
Head coach Dan Burt said after Sunday’s game that his team has the right to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the other more marquee schools.
“The real story is if we’re not ranked after this and what we’ve done, then I don’t know what we need to do, and it’s that simple,” Burt said. “I think we’ve proven ourselves to be one of the better teams in the country.”
If they can continue getting votes each week until the end of the regular season, then they are primed to finally earn a bid in the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament – something they’ve been snubbed from the past few years.
Two players have helped the Dukes significantly over the course of the season. Senior April Robinson and junior Amadea Szamosi are elite scorers who have been the backbone of this team throughout the first half of the season. Robinson is so far is averaging 14.9 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game while Szamosi is averaging 12.7 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game.
It was just last year that Robinson was nominated for the Nancy Lieberman award, which recognizes the top point guard in the country. Against Dayton, the senior showed off the talents that helped earn the nomination. She tallied 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to record only the third triple-double in Duquesne’s history. Robinson recalled the moment she knew she accomplished the feat.
“You know, all my teammates and the coaching staff all said something, and I remember it was a dead-ball possession and [Deva’Nyar Workman] came up to me and was like ‘ I need you to get one more rebound,’” Robinson said. “I’m pretty sure it was the next possession coming down [the court], she boxed a girl out and I got it and, you know, I could hear it in the stands, but I mean it’s a good feeling.”
Burt was proud of Robinson for her accomplishment, while mentioning the fact that she was humble throughout the whole process.
“What April did with the triple-double speaks to what we always talked about with April, [which is] just how important and how valuable she is to us,” Burt said. “I think she did it fairly quietly today.
The team needs Robinson and the rest of the women to shine if they want to continue to earn more votes. The Dukes still have a number of teams to leap frog over if they wish to be ranked. As of Sunday, there are currently four non-ranked schools ahead of Duquesne in the voting, which means any loss could derail the Red & Blue’s chances of getting ranked.
While making the tournament is the end goal for this team, Burt believes rankings are obsolete at this point in the campaign.
“It’s great for recruiting, it’s great for the kids, it’s great for the university,” Burt said. “But at the end of the day, it means nothing at the beginning of January.”
The Dukes continue conference play this Thursday in Fairfax, Virginia when they take on George Mason at 7:00 p.m.